All persons who would like to help decorate the sanctuary with fall items in celebration of the upcoming Harvest Home Sunday, are welcome to attend a festive hour of placing corn shocks, pumpkins, gourds, etc., around the sanctuary chancel and windowsills. No experience needed. Our interior decorators will lead you! The event takes place on Saturday, September 30, 9 a.m.
After fleeing a pharaoh and his soldiers; after escaping plagues and securing safety for their children; after being given no time to pack; and no time to gather enough of anything, food or water, one can hardly blame the Israelites for being a little crabby. In this instance, they’re so crabby they even suggest that dying back home in Egypt might have been preferable to having come all this way to die of hunger in the desert. And, of course, they don’t think about how they might help find food or water. Instead, they blame Moses. Poor Moses. Damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t. In this case, God steps in and saves the day and rains manna for the people to eat.
Sometimes leadership in our congregations are tired and worn. They face declining memberships and new members that don’t seem as ready to take on the leadership positions that used to be easy to fill. No one wants to come to committee meetings and volunteer in the ways that used to keep our congregations humming. We’ve been walking around in the desert and we’re hungry. Wouldn’t it be great if manna would fall from the sky and our pews would be full? Magical thinking is always attractive. Blaming leaders is easy. Wishing for the past is simple.
Just as the Israelites wanted to blame Moses and Aaron for their troubles, we local church folks often keep blaming everybody and everything. We blame working Moms. We blame school sports that practice and play on Sundays. We blame society. We blame a pastor who doesn’t preach inspiring, riveting, home-spun, wise and genuine (including jokes) sermons every Sunday. But sometimes manna won’t come–at least not without a caveat, not without some thought. Even the Israelites must follow rules to eat the food God showers on them.
There is a tool prepared by the United Church of Christ on all our behalves (NOTE: It’s not a magic wand). However, it’s like manna in that it won’t go away and it needs us to gather it up. This tool is called the “Local Church Profile,” and it has been prepared in conversation with local pastors and conferences. It is especially intended for churches to use when they are in transition between pastors, but congregations are encouraged to work on this profile every five years. It helps congregations ask questions about themselves; about how they worship; about the way they organize their life together; about their communities; about their neighbors; about what they believe. Jesus walked the countryside asking questions, sharing his beliefs, healing and serving those in need. He called people to do likewise, and he didn’t stay in one place. He kept moving. The Local Church Profile is a way for us, lost as we might feel in a wilderness, to keep moving.
A special program featuring local churches will be presented as part of the Bluffton Fall Festival. Stop in under the tent on the lawn of the Bluffton Presbyterian Church on Saturday, September 23. The program begins at 10 a.m. and continues until noon and consists of music presented by local church choirs, scriptures, prayers, and a sing-along. The hymn sing begins at 11:30 a.m. You may come and go as you wish.
The program is sponsored by the Bluffton Area Ministerial Association and is a contribution to the Bluffton Fall Festival.
The St. John’s UCC Roadsters will be traveling to the Allen County Museum in Lima, Ohio on Tuesday, October 10. A guided tour is planned through parts of the museum, the Children’s Garden and the McDonnell House, for those who are interested.
Prior to the museum tour, the Roadsters will be eating at The Metropolitan, a new downtown restaurant in Lima. Menu options and pricing will be forthcoming.
All members and friends of St. John’s are invited to join us on the excursion. A sign-up sheet will be placed in the church sanctuary for those interested in going.
Sunday, September 3 and Sunday, September 10, a special basket was placed at the back of the church for donations to help victims of Hurricane Harvey. All monies will be sent to the Northwest Ohio Association to be added to other churches’ donations and sent through The UCC Disaster Response program. One hundred percent of the dollars donated will be used for disaster relief in the hurricane ravaged areas.
The grand total of money donated by St. John’s UCC for the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund was $620.00. Thank you, members of St. John’s!
St. John’s UCC will be participating this year in the Operation Christmas Child project, begun by Franklin Graham. We will be filling special Christmas boxes with small gift items for boys and girls. The boxes will also include an 11-page children’s parable book. The gift boxes cost $9 each to mail, and funds from St. John’s UCC will be used to mail them.
More details on how each of us may become involved will be forthcoming.
An original quilt designed with pieces in Civil War style, was handmade by St. John’s UCC member, Connie Kempf. Members of St. John’s UCC will be selling raffle tickets priced at $1.00 a piece, or 6 tickets for $5.00. The winner of the raffle will receive the quilt. The raffle is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, January 2, 2018. The proceeds from the ticket sales will be designated for local missions.
Please be generous with your ticket purchases when someone invites you to buy some. You won’t be disappointed.
St. John’s UCC will prepare and host the fall beef and noodle dinner on Friday, October 6, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Patrons may dine in or carry out. The event takes place in Oppermann Hall of the church.
Menu items include: homemade noodles, beef, mashed potatoes, green beans, apple sauce, roll, assorted pies and beverages. Prices: $8 for adults; $5 for 6th grade through college; free for Pre-K; $4 for elementary school aged children.
Please enter the date on your calendars and plan to attend!
Note that we go to the fall, winter and spring schedule for Sunday School and Worship on Sunday, September 10:
Sunday School for Adults–9:30 a.m.
Worship–10:30 a.m.; Sunday School for children during the worship hour
Please note these times on your calendar. This time frame continues through the end of May 2018.
Thank you to everyone who participated in the Second Sunday Potlucks during the September through April church year. The fellowship and food uplifted those of us who attended the luncheons.
Since many of us travel and are otherwise taking part in activities during the summer months, the potlucks will be on hiatus until September.
Special events scheduled for St. John’s through late spring and summer are listed in a separate article.